The Resnick/Malzberg Dialogues #16: Anthologies

NOTE: this article first appeared in the pages of SFWA Bulletin 156, Winter, 2002.

MIKE: I seem to find myself back in the anthology business again this year, after a half-decade hiatus. I’m not quite sure how it happened. I know that in the early 1990s I edited more than 20 of them in something less than four years. Then — although a 3-year lag time on a pair of them would lead you to think otherwise — I was out of it for six years. And now, as I write these words, I’m editing four original anthologies.

And hearing screams of “Unfair!” from quite a few writers.


Because my anthologies are by invitation only.

Still why?

Because there’s a difference between charity, which is the way I view my editing gigs, and poverty, which is the way I (and my creditors) would view them if I edited open anthologies.

Maybe it’s time to discuss just what goes into putting an anthology together, and just how much money it costs the editor to pursue anthologies rather than more lucrative work (which includes writing novels, writing short stories, writing screenplays, writing articles, writing comic books, in fact writing just about anything but poetry.)

Let’s take a good, hard, honest look at it.
Continue reading

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New story sale

Bob Jeschonek and I just sold our collaborative short story, “Stella by Starlight”, to the original anthology, The Fermi Paradox,

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I just sold the first of my Weird Western series, The Buntline Special, to AST, my regular Russian publisher. Given what’s going on next door to my Russian readers, I think Doc Holliday and Johnny Ringo will fit right in. :-)

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“The Hell-Bound Stagecoach” Interview

Here’s the link for an interview I just gave concerning “The Hell-Bound Stagecoach”, my story in the just-published anthology, Dead Man’s Jamd, edited by John Joseph Adams and published by Titan.

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Silky and me

Now that this year’s Kentucky Derby is history, I got to thinking back to previous ones, and especially 1958. No horse ever entered the Derby with more publicity than Silky Sullivan in 1958. He used to come from 40 lengths back to win his Derby prep races, and he got even more pre-race press than Secretariat or Seattle Slew. Here, have a look at him.

Turns out the California horses he’d been beating weren’t quite the same caliber as he would face in the Derby, where he closed from 14th and last to finish 12th, ahead only of the lame Flamingo and the exhausted Warren G.

I’ll be eternally grateful to Silky, because the second professional sale I ever made, at age 16, in late 1958, was about Silky’s Kentucky Derby. It was my answer to “Casey at the Bat” and I thought I might share it with you some 56 years later:


One hundred thousand people came
To Churchill Downs that day.
The event—the nation’s greatest race;
The date—the third of May.

There was tall and mighty Tim Tam
Walking toward the starting gate;
He’d won seven in a row now,
And was out for number eight.

And Jewel’s Reward, the favorite,
A handsome three-year-old;
He’d won half a million dollars,
And was worth his weight in gold.

And then a hush fell on the crowd,
And from it rose a toast—
For Silky, mighty Silky,
Was advancing to the post.

Flecks of sweat and rain mixed
On his sparkling coat of red.
He viewed the field with proud disdain,
And tossed his perfect head.

Could Tim Tam give his rivals
The lead that Silky did?
Could any runner hope to match
Our Silky’s famed stretch bid?

The horses lined up in the gate.
Fourteen of them there were.
Silky calmly waited;
Not a muscle did he stir.

And then the starter sent them off!
The crowd let out a cheer,
Though Silky, mighty Silky,
Was bringing up the rear.

For now was not the time for speed;
The race had just begun;
He’d wait until the homestretch
To release that mighty run.

They’d gone three-quarters of a mile,
Another half to go.
Then Shoemaker pulled out his whip
And swung it to and fro.

“And there goes Silky Sullivan!”
The race announcer cried,
For Silky, mighty Silky,
Was coming fast on the outside.

Flamingo was the first he caught,
And then came Warren G.
The TV cameras caught this
For all the world to see.

But Tim Tam won this Derby
With a final mighty burst;
While Silky ran the last half,
Exactly like the first.

Oh, somewhere hearts are happy,
And somewhere smiles are broad;
But there’s no joy in Kentucky,
For Silky was a fraud.

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Eyeball Report

So in 2003 I have a torn retina. It’s sewn
together, and I’ll never walk into walls, but
I can also never read with that eye again: every
straight line in the universe is now wavy.

But it’s ok, because who needs two eyes to write
with? Over the following decade I have nine very
minor surgeries on my other eye — kind of like
looking into an endlessly repeating flash camera
from 3 inches away — and in that decade I produce
something like 35 more books and a ton of stories.

If things seemed a little small or a little fuzzy, well,
that was the beauty of having a computer and a Nook: I
could just make the type bigger and bolder. I knew my
vision wasn’t what it once was, but as long as I could
read, write, and edit, I didn’t worry about it. All my
driving was local, and I could see the streets and cars
and people just fine. Okay, I couldn’t read the street
signs, but I -knew- the streets.

Comes March of this year, I have to go in to renew my
driver’s license — and I can’t pass the vision test. I
can’t even come close to passing it. So I go to the
Cincinnati Eye Institute, where they’re been playing with
my retinas for a decade, and lo and behold, this time it’s
my cornea.

I was there again today for 4 hours of testing (if that’s
the right word, and I suspect it isn’t), and I’ll be going
in for surgery the first week in June. And hopefully I’ll
be able to get my license back before Carol gets her knee

Growing old ain’t for sissies. :-)

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Robots still aren’t crying

Just sold my 2004 Hugo nominee, “Robots Don’t Cry”, to the Writers of the Future 30 anthology, due out in late April.

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“Al and El” re-sold

My short story, “Al and El vs. Himmler’s Hideous Horde from Hell”, has been re-sold to the anthology MONKEYING AROUND, edited by Jean Rabe. [For those of you who missed it the first time around, Al is Little Al Einstein, Master Sorceror, and El of course is Big El(eanor) Roosevelt, Warrior Princess.]

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Hugo nominee resold

Just sold a reprint of Hugo nominee “Winter Solstice” to Fantasy Scroll, a new magazine.

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Fatherly brag

My daughter Laura, winner of the Campbell Award, and author of 3 novels for Tor and 7 (and counting) for DAW, was named Guest of Honor for the 2015 Millennicon.

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